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Subject: How much upkeep is too much? rss

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Ed Chen

California
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I'm thinking of adapting something else I'm working on for the 2013 PnP Solitaire Contest, as the feedback I get would help me a lot, but I'm worried that the upkeep required will turn people off from wanting to play it.

The game would generally have:

- up to 6-10 cards on the table at once (sometimes less)
- 1 to 3 numbers (usually 1) to keep track of on each card
- One number can go up to 20; any other numbers can be tracked with a single die.
- upkeep on each card 1-3 times per turn as cards interact with other cards
- You would have to do subtraction at times.

The game would generally last 12-16 turns, with about half the turns with 6-10 cards, and the other half with less.

With experience, the game can be played in about 15 minutes, assuming you have a reasonably efficient way to keep track of all of the numbers. That last part is key though, as like I said there is a fair amount of upkeeping necessary, which could easily turn off a lot of people, especially if you need to keep track of 2 or 3 different numbers on a single card.

I do not believe it's possible to easily remove any of the numbers, but of course if people think in general the upkeep is not too much and I start working on the game, I would be open to feedback for ways to streamline it.

So, my question is, given the amount of upkeep I listed, would you still be interested in learning more about the game (assuming other parts were interesting), or would you summarily pass on it as being too fiddly?

Poll
Is this too much upkeep?
Yes, no matter how cool the rest of the game is, it's too much upkeep
No, It sounds like a manageable amount of upkeep
      15 answers
Poll created by random user
 
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M M
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random user wrote:
So, my question is, given the amount of upkeep I listed, would you still be interested in learning more about the game (assuming other parts were interesting), or would you summarily pass on it as being too fiddly?

I would personally pass
 
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Ed Chen

California
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Thanks for the honest opinion. I'm not fishing for a particular answer, just looking for general opinion.

I've added a poll to make it easier for people to choose.
 
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Philip Migas
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How about a button for "I don't know. It depends on the rest of the game."?
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ErikPeter Walker
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In a solitaire game, tons of upkeep could be totally manageable if it happens over the course of the turn. I agree with "It depends." It sounds steep but if it's simply part of the game (a bunch of dice showing numbers are easy to manipulate, one-on-one card interactions only will ensure you don't get bogged down) it shouldn't be an issue.

Edit to add: The important thing is that the upkeep matters and adds to the fun of the game.

E.g., in Arkham Horror, opening gates and moving monsters is integral to how the game plays out. Players can also adjust their attribute sliders based on their focus every turn, but since drawn encounters test random attributes, it usually doesn't matter. Essentially, the ability to focus adds more complication than it's worth. That's the kind of upkeep I would avoid.
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Sturv Tafvherd
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I'll put it this way:

Infection Express is a game that I sometimes play solitaire, and sometimes with my elementary-schooler. It's essentially a fast version of Pandemic.

Here's a video:


to me, there's just enough upkeep going on there and it is manageable.

The use of tracking boards and cubes makes it easier, in my opinion, than using dice to keep track of things like research levels.
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Ed Chen

California
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I guess based on the answers so far it's murky.

I would still be interested in more responses, but maybe what I should do is construct the instructions so people have a more concrete idea of what would be involved.
 
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Jessey
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Based on what you've described I'd pass. A game that can take about 15minutes but has that much upkeep strikes me as a game where you spend most of the time upkeeping things.

Of course, as others have pointed out, this is based on your above description and not the actual details (ie: rules) of the game itself. Seeing those could change my opinion. I would recommend sharing some rules to get better informed responses.
 
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Ed Chen

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I think I found a good compromise solution. My current plan is to break up the rules into three tiers.

The beginner tier will have minimal upkeep and allow a person to dive right in. Experienced players will be able to break the game playing this way, but these streamlined rules should provide a good experience for someone who hasn't played the game a few times and is just looking to check out the game.

The intermediate rules will require minimal more upkeep but will provide a good game to someone who is just looking for a light diversion or for something to just play around with. Some of the nuance is still lost, but it hopefully will provide a good experience for someone who wants a lightweight game.

The advanced rules will require the full amount of upkeep, and will allow for certain nuances of the game to exhibit themselves. Players who are looking for a deeper game will hopefully not mind the full amount of upkeep.

That's the plan at least...

Anyone been done this road before and did it work out for you?
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James Hutchings
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It might be better if the 'upkeep' happened over the course of the turn, in response to player actions.

For example I used to play Vampire: The Eternal Struggle. This involves lots of tapping and untapping cards, putting counters (usually 'blood') on and taking them off and so on. In general, the more of this happens at the start of the turn, the more boring it is (especially for the other players), and the more likely to be forgotten.
 
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